Buffy the Vampire Slayer is an Emmy-Award Winning American television series that aired from March 10, 1997 until May 20, 2003. The series was created in 1997 by writer-director Joss Whedon under his production tag, Mutant Enemy Productions with later co-executive producers being Jane Espenson, David Fury, and Marti Noxon. The series narrative follows Buffy Summers played by Sarah Michelle Gellar, the latest in a line of young women known as Slayers. Slayers are chosen by fate to battle against vampires, demons, and other forces of darkness. Like previous Slayers, Buffy is aided by a Watcher, who guides and trains her. Unlike her predecessors, Buffy surrounds herself with a circle of loyal friends who become known as the "Scooby Gang".
Writer Joss Whedon says that "Rhonda the Immortal Waitress" was really the first incarnation of the Buffy concept, "just the idea of some woman who seems to be completely insignificant who turns out to be extraordinary." This early, unproduced idea evolved into Buffy, which Whedon developed to invert the Hollywood formula of "the little blonde girl who goes into a dark alley and gets killed in every horror movie." Whedon wanted "to subvert that idea and create someone who was a hero." He explained: "The very first mission statement of the show was the joy of female power: having it, using it, sharing it."
The concept was first visited through Whedon's script for the 1992 movie Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which featured Kristy Swanson in the title role. The director, Fran Rubel Kuzui, saw it as a "pop culture comedy about what people think about vampires." Whedon disagreed: "I had written this scary film about an empowered woman, and they turned it into a broad comedy. It was crushing."
Buffy Casting Edit
The title role went to Sarah Michelle Gellar, who had appeared as Sydney Rutledge on Swans Crossing and Kendall Hart on All My Children. At age eighteen in 1995, Gellar had already won a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Younger Leading Actress in a Drama Series. In 1996, she was initially cast as Cordelia Chase during a week of auditioning. She decided to keep trying for the role of Buffy, and after several more auditions, landed the lead.
Opening sequence Edit
The Buffy opening sequence provides credits early in each show. The music was performed by the punk rock band Nerf Herder. The song includes a similar melody to an Austrian pop song from the 1980s called "Codo" by DÖF, but Nerf Herder have said that they had "never heard of DÖF", and that the similarity was coincidental. In the DVD commentary for the first Buffy episode, Whedon said his decision to go with Nerf Herder's theme was influenced by cast member Alyson Hannigan, who had made him listen to the band's music. Janet Halfyard, in her essay "Music, Gender, and Identity in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel", describes the opening:
"It begins with the sound of an organ, accompanied by a wolf's howl, with a visual image of a flickering night sky overlaid with unintelligible archaic script: the associations with both the silent era and films such as Nosferatu and with the conventions of the Hammer House of Horror and horror in general are unmistakable".